Where would we be? A Reflection on 9/11

Where would we be? Where would we be today, if the 9/11 attacks had never happened?

2,977.

2,977 lives lost, fourteen years ago today. Where would we be? Where would they be? Eight children died that day, as well as a documented eleven unborn babies. The youngest victim in the towers was just eighteen. Where would these young people be today? College, jobs, high school, middle school…Who knows what those young people would’ve done for our world. What things would they have discovered? What new technologies would they have invented? What brilliant creations would they have built?

What about all the adults? How many innovative discoveries and ideas would they have given to us? How many beautiful children would they have blessed our Earth with? How many laughs and smiles and conversations are we missing out on? How many incredible dreams never came true?

Where would we be today?

September 11th would just be another day. Nothing special. No tragic anniversaries. No birthdays stained by this dark mark in history. No tears or heartbreak. Just an ordinary, September day. Children would go to school, unaware that some of their classmates escaped death or nonexistence. People would go to work, unaware that their coworker is supposed to be dead. We would fly on airplanes unafraid, oblivious to the horror the plane we’re riding in was supposed to cause. New Yorkers and tourists alike would flock to the World Trade Center and go about their days like it is any other, walking on floors and looking out windows that no longer exist. In the store, you and I would pass by countless strangers, not knowing that that man buying eggs and milk shouldn’t be here. We would attend weddings that should never have happened, because the groom is supposed to be dead. We would look at and celebrate birth announcements that shouldn’t exist because that woman shouldn’t be here to have that child. That thirteen year-old girl who just won the spelling bee wasn’t supposed to ever have been born. That young man who just won an art prize at his high school was never meant to even make it to kindergarten.

We would pass by all these people, totally unaware of the tragedy and horror we all avoided. It would be a different world. But does different mean that it’s better?

We would fly unafraid, yes, but with lax security protocols. We wouldn’t have to go through body-scans and pat-downs, yes, but who would know what anyone was hiding? We wouldn’t spend the day wiping away tears as we remember those fourteen years ago, but we wouldn’t have the yearly reminder to treasure those we love, and not take life for granted. We wouldn’t have to send our sons and daughters to war, but we wouldn’t have the memories of how our country came together to support our broken-hearted brothers and sisters.

A world without 9/11 would be a very different world indeed. 2,977 people would still be here, along with their children and those we’ve lost in the ensuing war. But we would also be without the little good that came from 9/11. I wonder, which storyline is better? Which plot has a better ending?

Perhaps the story without 9/11 would be the best in the end. But we will never know, and we don’t have the luxury of hoping for that possibility. All we can do is take the many lessons we learned fourteen years ago and in the years since, and put them to good use. We must ensure that the 2,977 lives lost were not wasted. We must never forget 9/11, and the terror that hate can bring.

Credit: cycloneshockey.com
Photo credit: cycloneshockey.com
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